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Is it time to re-level your RV? Here are some signs to look for

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By Gail Marsh
Here’s the scenario: It’s been several weeks since you parked your rig. The campground’s been great! You’ve met interesting folks and enjoyed exploring the nearby “must-see” sights. With everything going so well you can sit back and relax, right? Well, maybe not…

When your RV has been sitting in one spot for a while, it tends to settle. Depending on soil and weather conditions you may find yourself on shaky ground – literally! You might be surprised to learn that your RV will often “tell” you when things are no longer level. It’s true! Here are some things to watch for. If you notice one or more of these phenomena, your RV might be telling you it’s time to level up.

Signs your RV is saying, “Level me!”

  • You notice that your screen door sticks. It hasn’t done that before.
  • When you shower, the water seems to puddle – and not necessarily near the drain.
  • The ceiling fan makes a new/different noise when operating.
  • Your cake rises and bakes unevenly in the oven.
  • You notice that the jacks are sinking into the ground.
  • The refrigerator door begins to squeak.
  • The bathroom medicine cabinet swings open on its own.
  • A Hungry, Hungry Hippo’s marble rolls under the sofa before you can catch it.
  • Windows stick or are difficult to open or close.
  • You notice more sway or bounce when someone walks across the floor.
  • It’s difficult to adjust the tripod tongue brace (in fifth wheels).
  • Pocket doors no longer operate smoothly.
  • You find it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Basement doors do not close/latch properly.

Can you prevent your RV from settling?

Is there anything you can do to prevent your RV from settling? For starters, make sure you check your assigned RV site before your park. If you notice particularly soft spots or muddy areas (and there hasn’t been a soaking rain recently) ask to be moved to an alternative site, if possible. Be especially careful when parking on grass as the soil beneath grass tends to absorb moisture and become soft. If it happens to rain while you’re parked in the grass, the softened soil may become even softer. Also, notice if your RV will be parked at or near the bottom of a hill or slope. A heavy downpour can wash out the ground underneath your rig’s tires or stabilizers and cause big problems.

It’s not possible to bring along a concrete parking pad when camping. (Don’t I wish!) The next best thing is to pack along pressure-treated boards or premade plastic/rubber stabilizer pads and leveling blocks. Use these to enlarge the surface area of tires, jacks, and other places where your RV makes direct contact with the ground. This will help to keep your rig level.

Pay attention to the weather conditions. If heavy rain is predicted and you are parked in a spot that is already soft, consider moving to another site or changing your trip plans altogether. At the very least, make sure your tires are parked on sufficient plywood.

Why should your rig be level?

Why is it so important to keep your rig leveled? Well, those little aggravations like ill-fitting doors, squeaks, and excess sway can become much bigger issues. While spending time “unlevel,” sway, latches, and squeaks can become worse and components may weaken or even break. Beyond that, the integrity of slide-outs and the RV frame itself can be compromised. Perhaps most importantly, the propane/electric refrigerator must be level to operate properly. If not, you risk ruining the fridge or, even worse, causing a fire!

Don’t let the settling of your RV ruin your next trip. If your RV tries to tell you something – listen!

Related:

Level your rig like a pro – without messing up your suspension
How to avoid damaging slideouts when leveling an RV
RV levelers on Amazon

##RVT987

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Debbie
6 months ago

I know we’re not level if the bathroom door won’t stay in the same position when it’s half open.

Frank Tibbetts
6 months ago
Reply to  Debbie

Funny that how we level, wilfe opens bath room door, if it swings open further back is low,foward is low, if it stays where it is, you got it, now for side to side, I lower one jack and where the door goes ;and start bringing down the other side jack and adjust until the door stay open in one spot, re-check front and rear. This coach has air leveling, push one button and it will keep adjusting long as you have air, even in the middle of the night. I like the hydraulic jacks the best but you can’t beat one that checks 24/7 for level.
Frank

Don
6 months ago

Am I the only one who can “sense” an off-level condition just by looking at the rig (inside or out)? I have no problem knowing when we’ve gone off level by even a fraction of a degree. It just “looks tilted” to me. Our coach sits on it’s air bags, so even a tiny leak will have us settling off of the initial level position in a couple of days, and I can easily detect it when it happens. If we’re in for a long stay, I need to fire up the engine and re-level about once a week.

Dr. Mike
6 months ago

We have this issue at the moment! We are visiting family for the long weekend and staying in their driveway (which is pitched away from the house). I tried to get the coach as level as I could. It is not perfect, but doable for three days. The only issue we have is the half bath door will not stay open (it swings closed due to the pitch).
We are on asphalt, using auto and manual leveling with jack pads under the jacks so we do not damage the driveway.

chris
1 year ago

I see many people using slide out supports. I don’t know what happens if your rig settles a bit and your slides can’t move.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  chris

I think slide-out supports are a gimmick to make money. Your point is exactly the possible problem though I’d assume (uh oh) that these supports are adjustable.

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

If your slide needs extra support beyond what the manufacturer designed you have a structural defect or your kids need to go outside to jump on things. Normal use should not need extra support, as was said this is a marketing ploy to relieve you of gas money.